News: Unconscious bias is a challenge to the inclusion of women at workplace


Unconscious bias is a challenge to the inclusion of women at workplace

According to the latest survey findings released by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) Indian Women Network (IWN) in association with EY, a host of challenges still affect the inclusion of women at the workplace.
Unconscious bias is a challenge to the inclusion of women at workplace

The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) Indian Women Network (IWN) in association with EY have launched the findings of the survey which presents the current maturity level of Indian organizations and insights on how the benefits of Diversity and Inclusion can be optimized for all stakeholders. 

The insights are also contained in the report titled ‘The Future is HERe’. Astonishingly, the report reveals that over 69% of the organizations have been unable to understand the financial benefits of diversity.

According to Ryan Lowe, Partner, People Advisory Services EY said, “Promoting women’s participation is deeply connected to establishing economic stability. Through this report, we hope to raise awareness of the key barriers to gender diversity and encourage organizations to build an environment that is inclusive and gender equal. To achieve this, companies must adopt diversity as a policy and not as an organizational practice.” 

Some of the challenges that have been identified by the study are as follows:

  • Unconscious bias: Around 42% of the women have said that they face managerial bias. According to the report, unconscious bias stems from traditional gender role and unevolved social norms. 33% of the women have reported that there are different performance standards and expectations from male and female employees.

  • Exclusion from informal networks: 26% female respondents say that they feel an exclusion from the informal networks. The report talks about the existence of the traditional 'men's club' in the organizations.

  • The disparity in pay structure: 26% of the women respondents have said that they experienced disparity in pay structure among the peers

  • Less number of women in leadership roles: Over 16% respondents have reported that there are no women as members of the board and 47% reported that there are no more than 5% women in senior management roles.

  • Lack of awareness about benefits of gender diversity: Only 31% organizations have understood the financial the financial benefits of having a gender diverse population

Here are some of the highlights from the report:

  • An organization with 30% female leaders could add up to 6 percentage points to its net margin

  • 28% of the senior management responses said that they were not aware of their gender diversity targets

According to Pallavi Jha, Chairperson, CII IWN Western Region and Managing Director, Dale Carnegie India, said, “This is the tipping point; we need to walk-the-talk on gender equality and women’s empowerment. India fares rather poorly on the Gender Disparity Index, which is extremely worrying. We have to create more pro-women’s policies to impact the misogynistic currents in Indian society and workplaces. It’s time to converge all our energies to work on this – we cannot wait another 200 years to achieve gender parity.”  

The report also outlines the impact that the initiatives or the lack of them in the diversity and inclusion space will have on the future progress – both economically and socially. The response has been collected from 17 states across the country and across the following sectors: services, manufacturing, IT, pharma, healthcare, and education.

According to Aashish Kasad, Partner and India Region Diversity and Inclusion, EY has said that there is a need to define a clear business case for D&I with budgets to effectively design and deploy policies. He also suggests that possibly organizations could put in place D&I councils.

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Topics: C-Suite, Diversity

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